Merchantwired Goes Live With First Coast -to-Coast Retail Infrastructure Network
Consortium of the Nation’s Largest Mall Owners Creates Retail Extranet Standard
MerchantWired Partners with Cisco Systems, IBM and Intermedia Communications
to Establish the Infrastructure Standard
Indianapolis, Indiana – May 9, 2000 – MerchantWired (www.merchantwired.com), a full-service retail infrastructure that connects the physical and virtual worlds in the retail industry, announced the launch of its nationwide service. Leading a consortium of property owners and infrastructure partners, MerchantWired will change the way retailers communicate with each other and their customers. Dedicated to establishing the standard for retail networks, MerchantWired provides retailers in any property across the country with the infrastructure to meet their specific needs. Through strategic partnerships with Cisco Systems, Inc., IBM and Intermedia Communications, MerchantWired works with leading property owners, including The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC), The Rouse Company (NYSE: RSE), Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG), Taubman Centers, Inc. (NYSE: TCO), Urban Shopping Centers, Inc. (NYSE: URB), and Westfield America, Inc. (NYSE: WEA) to wire over 380 retail properties nationwide.
MerchantWired is providing a complete packaged solution for retailers with a core set of initial offerings that includes: internet provider in mall network, secure managed network services, secure access to the Internet, voice over IP infrastructure in the store, and redundant WAN infrastructure connecting retailers with their home offices, business partners and customers.
“MerchantWired has created a retailer-specific infrastructure, which will shape the future of retailing by giving stores the network to manage their businesses and better communicate with their customers who want the technology to integrate their online and offline shopping experience,” said Jim Giuliano, III, President and CEO of MerchantWired. “With this launch, MerchantWired is giving retailers the opportunity to benefit from this IP extranet standard that was created specifically for them.”
Since the beginning of 1999, MerchantWired has worked closely with its technology partners and retailers to engineer this infrastructure solution. In August of 1999, MerchantWired began a beta test through the holiday season with seven mall properties owned by Simon Property Group and a selected set of retailers testing both wired and wireless applications. This test allowed MerchantWired to validate the technology architecture’s ability to meet the specific needs of the retailer.
“Companies in every industry must learn to harness the power of the Internet to improve customer satisfaction, employee productivity and business operations," said John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems. "In the retail industry for example, companies are using broadband technology to collaborate and expand their services. MerchantWired.com is a leading example of how retailing will change forever and Cisco supports its goal of using the Internet to reshape the way we do business today."
Retail Industry Impact
MerchantWired is changing the face of retailing by giving merchants the technology to better serve their customers, lower their inventory costs, manage internal and external communications and create in-store kiosks and multi-media advertising campaigns. The company gives retailers the opportunity to better serve their customers by giving them the platform to integrate the online and offline shopping experience.
By increasing productivity and overall operating efficiency, MerchantWired gives retailers a competitive advantage over retailers without this type of infrastructure. In addition, MerchantWired provides retailers with a cost-effective and scalable pricing model that allows them to pay for the service based on their specific usage of the network. MerchantWired plans to develop future retail infrastructure solutions, like wireless technology, that would run off the network MerchantWired has created.
Coalition of Property Owners
MerchantWired is leading a coalition of property owners that includes The Macerich Company, The Rouse Company, Simon Property Group, Taubman Centers, Inc., Urban Shopping Centers, Inc., and Westfield America, Inc. MerchantWired plans to wire 400 malls by the end of 2000, with a goal of signing other property owners to eventually reach 1200 malls nationwide.
“This is truly an exciting time for MerchantWired as it rolls out to about ten malls a week. This kind of scalability shows the tremendous power of property owners and technology partners working together to give retailers an IP extranet standard that enhances their ability to perform business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications,” said David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group and Chairman of the Board of MerchantWired.
Strategic Infrastructure Partnerships
To provide superior service to meet the requirements of retailers, MerchantWired has formed strategic partnerships with industry leaders in the technology, service and infrastructure marketplaces. MerchantWired has secured partnerships with Cisco Systems, Inc., IBM, and Intermedia Communications among others, to help MerchantWired build out its infrastructure. These partnerships also enable the technology behind MerchantWired to work equally efficiently regardless of whether a retailer is located in a mall or in a freestanding location.
"IBM is helping MerchantWired design and implement a coast-to-coast retail network that in essence combines brick-and-mortar with click-and-mortar," said Mike Wiley, general manager, Integrated Technology Services, IBM Global Services. "Retailers will be able to enhance their marketing and selling operations -- as well as their customers’ shopping experiences -- by using this network to improve inventory controls, connect to the home office and sister stores, improve point-of-sale interactions and transmit in-store cybercasts."
MerchantWired offers its infrastructure partners the opportunity to build and support the foundation for this IP extranet standard. This retail standard will be the measure by which other infrastructure platforms are judged.
MerchantWired (www.merchantwired.com) is a full-service retail infrastructure standard that connects the physical and virtual worlds in the retail industry by providing access to a high speed, reliable and secure coast-to-coast network. MerchantWired was founded in 1999 by retail industry veterans who understand the specific infrastructure needs of retailers. Providing unparalleled customer service and a unique technology infrastructure, MerchantWired is creating the technology platform that will revolutionize the retail industry. Working with a coalition of property owners and infrastructure partners, like Cisco Systems, Inc., IBM, Intermedia Communications, MerchantWired is defining the retail infrastructure standard for the industry.